This week, all of your middle school memories come flooding back. Yes, “Eighth Grade” highlights the new releases hitting Blu-Ray and DVD. That film is far and away the best option today. Is it the only movie worth your time and money? Read on to find out!
PICK OF THE WEEK
Bo Burnham made his filmmaking debut with this achingly real portrait of a young girl coming of age. The universality with which Burnham tells this story is rather astounding, especially his first time out. Different aspects will hit home for different people, but it’s impossible to not relate to the film. It’s just that lived in and profound a work. In that way, it’s stunning. This is what we had to say in our very positive review here on the site:
“Eighth Grade” is not only a showcase for Burnham, it’s also a breakthrough for lead actress Elsie Fisher. Together, they’ve crafted something that will stand the test of time.
Almost everyone will notice a moment in “Eighth Grade” that rings true. Elsie Fisher is a find, while Burnham establishes himself as a filmmaker to watch. This is a must own!
Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $13,539,709 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet
In honor of this week’s release of “First Man” the pick for today will be the last collaboration between filmmaker Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling. It’s, of course, “La La Land.” Backlash aside, this remains an absolutely wonderful movie. Gosling and Emma Stone are amazing, the music is tremendous, and Chazelle creates pure joy in every fame. Entertainment Weekly raved about it as such:
It’s stunningly ambitious and thrillingly alive the way the best movies are.
We loved “First Man” at Telluride, so before it hits this weekend, revisit their last Oscar winning triumph!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title “Eighth Grade”:
“Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”
This biopic should have been amazing. The talent involved is so strong, the fact that the film fell incredibly flat is shocking. A starring vehicle for Joaquin Phoenix, directed by Gus Van Sant, with supporting parts for Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara. How this failed is stunning. And yet, fail it did. Our review here on the site says as much:
Cartoonist and writer John Callahan lived a fascinating life. One that begs to be told onscreen. Unfortunately, in the hands of Gus Van Sant, a story that should feel almost unbelievable instead stumbles along, constantly tripping over itself.
What a disappointment.
Box Office: $1,441,705
The first of two hotel set offerings this week is this mostly ignored genre offering. Despite a great cast and solid elements, it never jives. When a fair movie reminds you that it could be a great one, that’s a real shame. Variety made that exact point in their take:
It boasts snappy dialogue, memorable characters, and a gorgeously designed central location, but doesn’t quite know what to do with any of the above.
Seems like a misfire.
Box Office: $6,708,147
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”
Our other hotel related title today is the newest installment in an improbably popular animated series. Not just an Adam Sandler vehicle now, the cartoon trilogy is a full on franchise. Good on them, I suppose. Kids like it, which is something. CNN had this to say:
Although still visually pleasing, the latest adventure seldom sparks to life, even by the standards of its undead protagonists.
If you’ve enjoyed the franchise so far, keep at it with this latest one.
Box Office: $166,735,989 (and counting)
“A Prayer Before Dawn”
This art house prison drama also functions as a biopic of British boxer Billy Moore. Moore young up in a Thai prison, which is pretty brutal stuff. It all makes for a movie that is a tough watch, though one apparently worth sitting through. The Village Voice gets into it like so:
A Prayer Before Dawn feels scarily authentic, and may be too much for some. But there are moments of grace amid the setting’s despair.
This is another offering to consider this week.
Box Office: N/A
Dwayne Johnson suffered a rare large scale misfire with this overt “Die Hard” ripoff. Johnson has been pretty consistent of late, so this action flick not landing is a big deal. What it stole from apparently does it no favors either. The AV Club also hits this point home in their review:
It feels like a dumbed-down, poor man’s Die Hard, despite costing a lot more to make.
Box Office: $67,796,355
Special Criterion Collection Section
“Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day”
Our one and only new Criterion release to give a shout out to this week is comes from a little filmmaker named Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It’s his 1972 German drama that saw him still in his early days. Apparently given to him as an assignment, Fassbinder still managed to leave his imprint on the material. This is what the Collection has to say about the seldom seen title:
Rarely screened since its popular but controversial initial broadcast, Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day rates as a true discovery, one of Fassbinder’s earliest and most tender experiments with the possibilities of melodrama.
Something to definitely give a shot to!
“The 100: Complete Fifth Season”
“Born to Kill: Season One”
“Deception: The Complete Series”
“Killing Eve: Season One”